'Bedroom tax' challenge in court

IDSDisabled adults and families with disabled children are challenging the legality of the Government's so-called "bedroom tax", arguing that it unlawfully discriminates against them.

New housing benefit regulations have led to reductions in benefit payments to tenants in the social housing sector assessed to be under-occupying their accommodation.

Lawyers in 10 cases at London's High Court are seeking a ruling that the regulations, introduced on April 1, ''unjustifiably discriminate against housing benefit claimants who are disabled or care for disabled family members''.

Tenants with one spare bedroom have had a payment reduction of 14% and those deemed to have two or more spare a reduction of 25%.
Lawyers for the 10 say that, unless the families move from their homes into smaller properties, they face building up rent arrears and being forced out any way.

But their disabilities mean they need to occupy either their current accommodation or housing of a similar size, and being forced to move to other accommodation will result in disadvantages they would not suffer if they were not disabled.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rejects the "bedroom tax" tag and says the reality is that "a spare room subsidy" has been removed from social sector tenants.

A DWP spokesman said the new regulations are lawful and adequate steps have been taken to safeguard people with disabilities.

Lawyers for the 10 say that insufficient financial resources have been made available to meet their needs.

In a three-day hearing, they are asking the court to rule that the new regulations are contrary to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects against discrimination. They also argue that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has failed to comply with his public equality duty under the 2010 Equality Act.

10 consumer rights you should know

10 consumer rights you should know

More stories